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German Blue rams dying please help

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Problem:- Have had 5 rams and am now down to one, they seem to get some sort of breathing problem and die shortly after (3-4days). have had resident Tapajos in there with them not causing stress either. As well as rummy nose tetra that have stunning coloration. fish initially took around 2weeks before first death and onset of others deaths.. very meticulous with the tank and have no idea what is going wrong. suitable habitat, parameters, food. please help!

Ph:- 6.7-7

Ammonia:- 0ppm (API tests)

Nitrate:- 0ppm

Nitrite:- 0ppm

Gh:- (unsure, Gold coast water supply and i also use a water softener pillow) ((presumably low, no calcium build ups))

Kh:- ^^

Size of tank:- 1.2m x .38m x .28 (standard 4foot)

Temperature °C:- 27-28

Been running for:- approx 1 year

Filtration:- external canister 750L/h with UV sterilizer

Fish in tank:- 4 tapajos F1, 4 rummynose, 4 lap eye tetra, 1 german blue

Plants in Tank:- log, amazon swords, anubius, banana lily, maple leaf litter.

Feeding:- 3 times a day

Spectrum, Spectrum Thera +, Hikari (i blend them all together) and blood worms

Recent Medication Treatments: Used a Pimafix dosage about a month ago when first two rams died, thought possible bacterial infection. Use prime for dechlor, no plant chems...

Last water change: 3days ago

Water change every week or twice weekly if i can be bothered

perhaps they were just dodgy? i really have no idea and am open to all questions/possible reasons for their death.

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You haven;t described the symptoms of the suffering fish. Are they gasping for breath, are there any marks, is there any bloating?

Two things stick out to me.

Firstly Blood Worms. Frozen blood worms have been blaimed for death in apistos due to the outer skin ripping the stomach apart. I am not a fan of blood worms and would suggest changing that out of the diet.

Secondly Water softening pillows simply replace chemicals with other chemicals, so whilst adjusting gH, do nothing for disolved solids. I would stop using it. check your hardness measurements and if a problem I would be using either RO water or Rainwater.

Steve

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I have given up on dwarf cichlids as I have lost 16 F1 Blue Rams and several Apistogramma species in the past 6-7 months to what appears to be a respiratory illness. They all died in the same manor you have described.

I have never fed and/or feed any of my fish frozen blood worms as I feel the negatives of this type of food outway the positives. My rams were on a diet of NLS and a natural vege/krill/shrimp/spirulina frozen mix only.

I have researched this issue and yet to find a solid solution.

So on the American side of my collection, it's nothing smaller than a Salvini for me from now on :(

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You haven;t described the symptoms of the suffering fish. Are they gasping for breath, are there any marks, is there any bloating?

Two things stick out to me.

Firstly Blood Worms. Frozen blood worms have been blaimed for death in apistos due to the outer skin ripping the stomach apart. I am not a fan of blood worms and would suggest changing that out of the diet.

Secondly Water softening pillows simply replace chemicals with other chemicals, so whilst adjusting gH, do nothing for disolved solids. I would stop using it. check your hardness measurements and if a problem I would be using either RO water or Rainwater.

Steve

Thanks, i will change that out of the diet immediately i had no idea. Could you suggest a substitute? as first said in post i feed them a mix of spectrum and hikari is that enough? also I have the possibility of using rain water (have a 5000L poly tank) i will also remove the cushion and start using that water instead.

thanks again

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I have given up on dwarf cichlids as I have lost 16 F1 Blue Rams and several Apistogramma species in the past 6-7 months to what appears to be a respiratory illness. They all died in the same manor you have described.

I have never fed and/or feed any of my fish frozen blood worms as I feel the negatives of this type of food outway the positives. My rams were on a diet of NLS and a natural vege/krill/shrimp/spirulina frozen mix only.

I have researched this issue and yet to find a solid solution.

So on the American side of my collection, it's nothing smaller than a Salvini for me from now on :(

I regret to hear you also lost some chums, its quite disappointing as you must know. I was un aware of the repercussions of using blood worms until now and will hurl them with tremendous fury and anger. Could you recommend some brands of this vege/krill/shrimp/spirulina frozen mix and also what the acronym NLS stands for? thanks and condolences

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0 for ammonia, nitrite AND nitrate? Hmm.

i doubt that the values would be that of zero, though as my eyes cannot quantitatively view the spectrum and correctly analyze the API test, i will have to go with zero. +- 5ppm

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Are they dark in colour?

Can you post a pic?

cannot get a good picture at the present, i have a gopro low light and its hiding behind a log.. will try again tomorrow with better lighting, appears to be rather dull in colour. has characteristic colours just not very vibrant, body is slightly grey/silverish..

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Try to get some pics up.

Hiding, discolouration and heavy breathing could be caused by a few things, I'd be leaning towards an internal parasite/protozoa.

If they all had the same symptoms and nothing else has any signs of disease the rams possibly had the same problem and may be to late to save the last one :(

If you wanted to try and save it get some Metronidazole/Flagyl from your vet or some people on here may have it, do a search to find who might be able to help you.

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I wouldn't put it onto the LFS they wouldn't deliberitally sell or stock sick fish.

Good luck with it.

I would like to expand on this a little. Firstly until you give us some symptoms, we are guessing what the problem may be.

In terms of bacterial infection, apistogramma and dwarf cichlids in general are very susceptable to bacterial infections. The reason is that bacteria don't grow well in the low pH environments of there natvie waters. Fungus takes the role of bacteria in breakdown of organic materials.

While Rams are quite forgiving of pH, and found over a large distribution area, they prefer the stagnant pools, and hence are typically found at higher temperatures, and low pH's (<6).

I have had my best success with dwarfs in general giving a sand base, using rain water, and a little town water to give some small degree of stability, and using IAL. Then crash the pH to varying degrees based on fish.

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I would like to expand on this a little. Firstly until you give us some symptoms, we are guessing what the problem may be.

In terms of bacterial infection, apistogramma and dwarf cichlids in general are very susceptable to bacterial infections. The reason is that bacteria don't grow well in the low pH environments of there natvie waters. Fungus takes the role of bacteria in breakdown of organic materials.

While Rams are quite forgiving of pH, and found over a large distribution area, they prefer the stagnant pools, and hence are typically found at higher temperatures, and low pH's (<6).

I have had my best success with dwarfs in general giving a sand base, using rain water, and a little town water to give some small degree of stability, and using IAL. Then crash the pH to varying degrees based on fish.

symptoms are as described originally, discoloration, lack of ability to breath (so it seems), tendency to hide, seems exhausted. Ph is fine as well as other parameters. TDS might be a little high, though nothing crazy, 25% water changes twice a week. and have been using a softener cushion (now removed), mixture of gold coast sand and 1mm gravel used, (thoroughly washed and aged). temp is fine and will start changing water with rainwater 25-50% daily. wasnt able to get a photo this morning before work and he was sitting underneath the intake for the canister filter, looking pretty worse for wear.

might be a sad afternoon when i return home. :(

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Unfortunately i had to euthanize him this afternoon, i returned to him bobbing around the top of the tank slowly getting pushed around. Thanks for all those people who took the time to try help me. I havent given up on these fish, i think i will just get a smaller nano for them. ultimate parameters, will make the pope's holy water look seedy. I think it may have been a bacterial infection as the autopsy revealed no damage to gills or abnormalities in the stomach. (scalpel and magnifier glass). Again thanks to those who contributed, it was just the case of a little too late i think. Again thanks people

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